By Lt. Col. Mark Boussy, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison-OahuOctober 23, 2008
This article is the final of a series of three that highlight the many programs available for spouses and family members of deploying Soldiers
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Army Community Service (ACS) provides a wide range of programs and support services to assist Soldiers and family members throughout deployment.
The ACS Financial Readiness Program (FRP), Family Advocacy Program (FAP), Army Emergency Relief (AER), Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), Employment Readiness Program (ERP), Relocation Readiness Program, and Mobilization and Deployment (MOB/DEP) programs all focus on mission readiness by enhancing Soldier and family member readiness and resiliency through a variety of educational and support services, which address all levels and phases of deployment and mobilization.
While ACS has regularly scheduled classes and workshops, we additionally have a "When and Where you Want it" service delivery model, allowing our clients to identify the most convenient time and location for classes and workshops. Classes and workshops are requested via our Web site and coordinated through the family readiness support assistants (FRSAs) for the rear detachment and the family readiness groups (FRGs). The following is a summary of many of these predeployment, rest and recuperation (R&R), reunion and reintegration programs, services and workshops offered by ACS:
Aca,!AcVideo Teleconferencing (VTC) Capabilities: ACS provides a "High Tech, High Touch" environment so Soldiers and families can stay in touch during deployment using video teleconference capabilities, the Internet, and Web cams located in the ACS Computer Lab.
Aca,!Ac"Child and Parent" Educational Deployment Support Groups: Military family life consultants facilitate age-specific groups ranging from 7-18, which focus on conflict resolution, stress management and communication.
Aca,!AcSoldier Readiness Processing (SRP)/Reverse SRP: A mandatory station screening for issues of concern before deployment and upon redeployment, ensuring that Soldiers are aware of ACS services available, FRG resources, and other military and civilian resources.
Aca,!AcBattlemind for Spouses (predeployment): An interactive workshop discussing the importance of building support systems and resiliency skill building.
Aca,!AcPredeployment Expos: Comprehensive collaboration with community agencies to provide a "one-stop" source of information to Soldiers and family members.
Aca,!AcPredeployment Couples Communication: An interactive workshop discussing the difficult topics of deployment; finances; injury, death, problems with children, etc.
Aca,!AcMaking R&R Work for You: This workshop helps make this happy, yet sometimes stressful time, one that builds a stronger family.
Aca,!AcR&R and Couples Communication: Learning how to include quality communication between you and your spouse into your R&R schedule can help you have an enjoyable and meaningful time together.
Aca,!AcR&R and Children: Preparing yourself, your returning spouse, and your children in re-establishing relationships with a parent they know is leaving again.
Aca,!AcSeparation is not Easier the Second Time Around: R&R tips on staying focused on the here and now, and enjoying the present are discussed.
Aca,!AcR&R is not Just a Short Version of Reunion: Learn how R&R can be an opportunity to build a stronger family and set plans in motion for a successful reunion at the end of your deployment.
Aca,!AcHearts Toward Home Reunion Workshop: A three-hour interactive workshop preparing family members for their Soldier's return.
Aca,!AcReintegration: A three-hour workshop with an interactive approach specifically designed to assist all parties in understanding the anatomy of trauma, stress and other challenges facing healthy reintegration.
Aca,!AcMaking the Most of Your Money: A one and one-half hour workshop designed to heighten Soldier and family members' awareness on financial issues.
Aca,!AcNew Parents 101: A one and one-half hour workshop recommended for all male Soldiers whose spouse gave birth during the deployment and all female Soldiers who gave birth within six months prior to the deployment.
Aca,!AcRear Detachment Leaders Class (RDLC): A five-hour presentation of instruction to ensure the command is familiar with ACS programs and resources.
The effects of deployment reach far beyond the immediate family and last far beyond the time spent away from home. During deployment both the active duty member and family members have adapted to a new lifestyle, gained new perspectives on life, and learned new survival skills. One has adapted based on survival in a war zone; others have adapted based on the absence of a significant other.
When deployment ends and reunion and reintegration begins, a new process of adaptation begins; one of blending the new lifestyles, new perspectives and new survival skills. The deployment cycle is a process, not an event. Resiliency is an act that can be learned. We owe this to our Soldiers and families; they have more than earned it.
For additional support and information, contact ACS, Building 2091, Schofield Barracks, at 808-655-4227.